Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Caribbean Takes a Bite out of the Big Apple

Wowing the big city with Caribbean charm, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) took a bite out of the Big Apple during Caribbean Week in New York City.“This year’s celebration is sure to be our biggest and most exciting Caribbean Week ever, “said Sylma Brown-Bramble, director of marketing, CTO, “the local community will get to experience why the Caribbean is the number one warm-weather destination and offers so much more than just sun and sand.”

Sylma Brown-Bramble, director marketing, CTO 

Organized by the CTO, the annual event was supported by American Express, Association of Travel Marketing Executives, Empire State Building, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, St. Kitts, Travelocity and the Wall Street Journal and was attended by tourism ministers, public relations professionals, travel agents, tour operators and the public.

From the Empire State Building lit up in the traditional Caribbean colors of blue, green and yellow to cultural fairs, a bustling media marketplace and industry seminars, Caribbean Week was Manhattan’s hottest ticket for one week in June.

Barbados makes a splash at Media Marketplace 

photo credit: M. Reffes

Barbados at Media Marketplace 
CropOver with the CropOver Girls.
Credit: M. Reffes

Tourism marketers seeking to discover new ways to reach an increasingly savvy traveler listened to North America’s top travel researcher Henry Harteveldt, vice president, Forrester Research who shared industry insights during the much-anticipated Marketing Conference. “We live in a Wal-Mart world where travelers routinely check for the lowest prices, “he told the rapt audience, “we must be technology-focused because we still live in an era of uncertain economic and this neo-frugal chic mindset will continue throughout 2011.” The conference aptly titled Catching the Wave: Trends, Social Media, Mobile and Multicultural Marketing Outlook of Today’s World in Marketing” also featured Susan Black, vice present for global e-commerce at American Express Vacations and Jazz Poulin, founder of

Other popular events included an Investors breakfast, Rhythms of the Caribbean Ball at the Plaza hotel, Cultural Fair that took over Grand Central Station with a cornucopia of food, entertainment and a wedding organized by the Global Bridal Group. “Our participation in today’s wedding ceremony reinforces our marketing strategy to highlight St. Kitts as a premier romance, wedding and honeymoon destination,” said Rosecita Jeffers, CEO, tourism authority, “We hope the newlyweds enjoy a wonderful honeymoon in St. Kitts, exploring all of the charms of Ottley’s Plantation Inn and our unique island destination.”

Duree Ross, Elegant Hotel Group, Barbados
photo credit: M. Reffes
FUZE booth at Grand Central Station 
photo credit : M. Reffes                                                                    Marie Walker, director tourism 
                                                                                                                   N.A., Anguilla

Inside Track

The CTO and the National Tour Association (NTA) inked a partnership that will deliver more North American tourists to the Caribbean. "This match creates an important commercial opportunity for CTO members," said Ricky Skerritt, chairman, CTO, “NTA is an international association focused on travel to, from and within North America, which fits in with the product offerings of our thirty-three CTO member countries." NTA President Lisa Simon welcomed the agreement between the two groups “NTA tour operators are familiar with the fantastic Caribbean destinations, and the CTO recognizes the huge potential this represents for their members. This collaboration simply makes it easier for both NTA and the CTO to bring new business opportunities to our members.”

Ricky Skerritt, Chairman, CTO
Hugh Riley, secretary general CTO

credit: M. Reffes

Sir Royston Hopkin, owner of the Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada was named the CTO’s Lifetime Achievement Awardee for 2011. With a fifty year record of service in the hospitality sector, he was also the youngest person ever appointed to the Grenada Tourist Board, president of the Grenada Hotel Association for fourteen terms and the creative force behind a scholarship fund for disadvantaged children.
                                                                                       Hugh Riley, secretary-general, CTO

Tourism to Puerto Rico is on an uptick courtesy of a new marketing initiative that is making quite a splash with travelers. The recently-launched ‘My Puerto Rico ‘offers easy access to a plethora of packages, deals and discounts. Through October 30, hotels participating include Hotel El Convento, La Concha, Isla Verde Beach Resort and Doubletree by Hilton San Juan. “By the end of this year, “said Gabriel Emanuelli, director, sales and marketing, North America, “the island will have 13,200 rooms with new properties coming on stream including the Fairmont which will open with 500 rooms by the end of 2013 and a 200-room Ritz-Carlton slated to open next year.” New flights from the Midwest including from Milwaukee and Minneapolis are on the drawing board with charters from Canada a top priority for this year. “We’re in discussions with WestJet for flights from Montreal and Toronto,” added Narciso Moreno, Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

St. Lucia is also on a roll with 2011arrivals for April showing a 12.4% increase over April 2010 and developments including hotel openings, visitor attractions and additional flights from American Eagle. ” We are looking forward to showcasing our continued commitment to further enhance the destination by providing straightforward trip planning tools, increased airlift accessibility, as well as highlighting the destination’s unique new opportunities from visiting a chocolate factory to night snorkeling under the Pitons.” said Louis Lewis, director of tourism, SLTB. A new feature to the website - – allows visitors to create their own itinerary and print it out in preparation for their trip to the island. The Tourist Board also opened its first call center to enhance communication with the traveling public as well as a new “Live Chat” feature.

The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) appointed Campbell Rudder as the vice president of marketing for the US. ‘’I am pleased to be a member of the BTA team and look forward to enhancing the overall vision and performance of the tourism sector through tactical and focused strategies.” The BTA has recorded growth with a 5.5 per cent increase in US arrivals at the end of March or 2043 visitors over 2010.

Make A Date

September 14 – 18: St. Martin will make history when it hosts the inaugural State of the Industry” conference organized by the CTO.

November 17-20: Eden of the Caribbean in the St. Lucian town of Soufriere with wellness workshops by world experts in yoga and feng

November 18-21: Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival is a four-day epicurean bonanza for tourists and locals alike with celebrity chefs like Mark McEwan, Tom Brodi of Canada, Bruno Loubet from the United Kingdom and Brazilian chef Vitor Gomes. “Building off the success of last year’s festival, the festival has proven itself as one of the major world culinary festivals bringing the finest international culinary talent to our beautiful island to celebrate the very best in food, wine and rum,” said David Rice, CEO,BTA.

Anguilla Shines at Media Marketplace
                                                          Trinidad at Media Marketplace 
                                                             represented by CAM

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